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Rainforest dragons
Hypsilurus - Peters, 1867

Pronunciation: HIP-sill-YOUR-uss
Etymology: 'upsilon-tail'. Upsilon ('ϒ') is the Greek letter on which the English uppercase 'Y' is based.

Taxonomic notes:

Members of this genus used to be placed in Gonocephalus. An unpublished PhD thesis (Moody 1980) placed the Australian species in Hypsilurus. This action has been supported by other studies1, 2 and by many books, but has never officially been published.

Article to find:
Manthey U. and Denzer W. (2006) A revision of the Melanesian- Australian angle head lizards of the genus Hypsilurus (Sauria: Agamidae: Amphibolurinae), with description of four new species and one new subspecies. Hamadryad 30:1–40

Notes: The Australian members of this genus are Gondwanan relicts of a group of animals found in parts of Australasia.
Statistics: Reproductive modes:
Oviparous - 2 out of 2 Australian species

Size range:
Smallest Australian species: rainforest dragon (Hypsilurus spinipes) at 11 cm
 Longest Australian species: Boyd's forest dragon (Hypsilurus boydii) at 15 cm
Number of Australian species: 2

Boyd's forest dragon (Hypsilurus boydii)
Curtain Fig National Park, Queensland
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
Boyd's forest dragon (Hypsilurus boydii) distribution range map Hypsilurus boydii
Boyd's forest dragon
Year described
(Macleay 1884)
Well-developed nuchal and vertebral crests, discontinuous with each other in the shoulder region. Flattened, enlarged scales on rear part of jaw. Shades of green, grey and brown.

rainforest dragon (Hypsilurus spinipes)
Lamington Plateau, Queensland
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
rainforest dragon (Hypsilurus spinipes) distribution range map Hypsilurus spinipes
Rainforest dragon
Year described
(Duméril & Duméril 1851)
Long limbs. Large nuchal and vertebral crests are continuous with each other. Generally shades of brown to green. Irregular mottling may be present, sometimes resulting in spectacular green and blue patterns.

  1. Baverstock, PR & Donnellan, SC (1990). Molecular evolution in Australian dragons and skinks: a progress report. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 29:323-331. - search web for this article
  2. Ota, H.; Matsui, M.; Hikida, T.; & Mori, A. (1992). Extreme karyotypic divergence between species of the genus Gonocephalus (Reptilia: Squamata: Agamidae) from Borneo and Australia. Herpetologica, 48(1):120-124. - search web for this article
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